Most candidates get passing grades for renewable fuel support

By Ann Bailey | November 10, 2015

The majority of U.S. presidential candidates, to some degree, support renewable futures, earning them a favorable grade mid-term grade from America’s Renewable Future.

The Iowa organization graded the candidates based on thousands of questions they were asked at campaign events across Iowa, said Eric Branstad, America’s Renewable Future state director during a conference call to reporter on Tuesday. Candidates received grades of “good,” “needs work,” or “bad,” depending on their level of support for renewable fuels.

Candidates who received grades of good,  for example, demonstrated strong support for renewable fuel, Branstad said. Candidates who got a grade of needs work have talked about the benefits of renewable fuel, but ARF is looking for a greater commitment. Candidates who got a bad grade have not voiced support for renewable fuels.

Nine of the candidates 17 received grades of good; four, grades of needs work and four, bad from ARF.

“The mid-term report is very healthy,” Branstad said.

Branstad commended the candidates, such as Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum who had toured ethanol and biodiesel plants, and Donald Trump, who will visit a Poet LLC plant in Iowa this week.

“There is nothing really better than going to an ethanol plant,”Branstad said, noting that touring a plant and seeing first-hand the production process was an effective way for candidates to learn about renewable futures.

The ARF plans to thank candidates, such as Trump, who have voiced support for renewable fuels, Branstad said.

“We’re excited to have him at our Poet-Gowrie plant this Thursday and talk to him further and thank him for his great support,” Branstad said.

Meanwhile, ARF will work with candidates who received a grade of needs work, said Derek Eadon, America’s Renewable Future senior advisor.

“Our goal is to move them up to that good category, and we are tirelessly to make that happen,” Eadon said.

America’s Renewable Future also plans to contact its list of 45,000 supporters and other allies about the report cards at ethanol plant caucus trainings, through phone calls and by other one-on-one grass roots efforts. A final report card will be issued in January.

Here is a complete list of the candidates and their ARF grades:

Good: Democrats Hillary Clinton, Marttin O'Malley and Bernie Sanders. Republicans Donald Trump, Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum, Chris Christie, Lindsay, Graham, George Pataki and Martin O’Malley.

Needs work: Republicans Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, Carly Fiorina, John Kasich

Bad: Republicans Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Bobby Jindal